Jon Jones breaks down two ‘big holes’ he sees in Ciryl Gane’s fight game ahead of UFC 285

LAS VEGAS – It’s no secret that Jon Jones studies his opponents before every fight, and he has found some areas to potentially exploit against Ciryl Gane.

One of the reasons Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) doesn’t take short notice fights is because he wants to know what challenge lies ahead, and that means hours of studying film. When he steps into the cage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the UFC 285 main event to face Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the vacant heavyweight title, Jones believes the notes he has gathered will help him succeed.

When first asked what he sees in his heavyweight debut opponent, Jones was complimentary of Gane, giving the former interim champion a lot of praise for his skills.

“Ciryl seems like a nice guy,” Jones told reporters at the UFC 285 pre-fight press conference. “Seems like a – you know, he’s a great fighter. Great footwork, great striking, ambidextrous in his stances – and I think it’s going to be a great fight.”

A few moments later, however, Jones was asked to clarify comments he made at Wednesday’s media day, when he stated Gane was the most incomplete fighter in the heavyweight’s top five. That’s when Jones went beyond the surface and divulged what he views as weaknesses in his opponent’s game.

“I respect Ciryl Gane, I really do, but I study film constantly and I just see a lot of patterns,” Jones said. “When he’s in one stance, there’s things he really loves to do. He goes to the same well a lot. When he’s in the opposite stance, he has his tendencies. Outside of that, I realized that he doesn’t have much wrestling. He relies on evasion, trying to get away. He relies on jiu-jitsu instead of solid takedown defense, and same with the ground game. I watched Francis Ngannou be able to rack up maybe five, six minutes of top time in that fight, and Francis is not a guy that’s known to control people on the top.

“He does have the striking down. I don’t think defensively he’s a very strong kickboxer. He has a really nice offense. Like I said, his defense is mainly in his footwork, and two other big holes are jiu-jitsu and wrestling.”

Gane, who was sat a few feet away from Jones with UFC president Dana White manning the podium between them, did not give much of a reaction while his opponent spoke. When it was his turn to take the mic, Gane addressed some of the issues Jones spoke about.

After admitting he made a mistake in underestimating Francis Ngannou’s wrestling game in their UFC 270 heavyweight title bout, Gane said he made sure he covered that base in training camp for Jones.

“Everybody knows the level of wrestling of Jon Jones, but I’m focused about that,” Gane said. “I’m focused on it, so we worked on it. We’re going to be ready for him.”

Beyond addressing his wrestling, Gane also spoke about going above and beyond in preparation for this fight, because he knows what a win over Jones would mean for his legacy, in addition to becoming the UFC heavyweight champion.

“Truly, I’m just focused on my performance,” Gane said. “I just want to do well in the cage against a big guy like him. It’s a big test for me. Maybe, and truly, the biggest test of my life.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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